Domestic Encyclopædia (1802)/Journal

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JOURNAL, or Diary, properly signifies a day-book, register, or account of particular circumstances occurring daily, and deserving to be noted.

Journals are of extensive utility, in an economical point of view; and we are convinced, that all persons engaged in any active pursuits, especially those of rural and domestic economy, would avoid many inconveniencies, by keeping regular accounts. This object, we conceive, might be easily attained, by arranging the pages, ruled with columns, and pointing out the names of workmen, together with the several days of the week, in which the duration and nature of the work done; and the industry or idleness of labouvers, might at once be exhibited, by means of simple characters. To these may be added four columns; one specifying the rate or price of the labour per day, another containing the number of days, and length of time individuals have respectively worked; a third, for the sum total due to them; and the last for the insertion of occasional remarks.

This plan is well adapted to general purposes; but thooe who wish to avail themselves of an useful form, solely calculated for agricultural affairs, will find nn excellent plan engraven in the 17th vol. of Annals of Agriculture.

Journal also denotes a critical account of literary performances. Of this kind we have several monthly publications, which, in general, do strict justice to the works that pass under review. In the present state of society, however, it has often been seriously lamented, that any journal should be made subservient to party principles; especiailly where religion or politics are concerned. Hence it has frequently been suggested, that, instead of anonymously undermining the reputation of literary works, and injuring literary property, reviewers ought, on such occasions, to affix their signature to every critique, and support their strictures by fair quotations selected from the book which is submitted to their judgment. Thus, their criticisms would become less dangerous, but more authentic vehicles of information. The character of a new work would likewise claim greater attention, from those who are in any degree acquainted with the merits of the reviewer: and, though a plan of this nature may probably, at first, meet with many objections, especially by those authors and publishers who are supposed to live upon friendly terms with the dictators of the secret tribunal; yet we hesitate not to say, that many and great advantages would eventually result from this candid and impartial measure. On the other hand, it is maintained, that the free republic of letters, by disclosing the names of critics, would be deprived of numerous valuable observations, which are equally pointed and instructive:—this powerful objection, however, appears to be inconclusive; because impartial justice is the first maxim of every moral institution. Besides, anonymous writers, when influenced by party-zeal (as frequently happens), possess an undue advantage over authors who risk their reputation before a discerning public; and, according to general principles of equity, every man has a right to know his enemy, provided he does not conceal himself in an ambuscade.